Healthy Oven Pumpkin-Orange Cornbread

  • Serves: Serves 12; Makes one 9- x 5- x 3-inch loaf pan
  • Baking Temp (degrees F): 350
  • Views: 7750
  • Comments: 3

Variation: Healthy Oven Pumpkin-Orange Cranberry Cornbread

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This is my Thanksgiving signature side dish. I make this ahead, and freeze it. Of course, you can always make it the day before or day of the big event. This recipe is so moist from the inclusion of pumpkin puree and the acid in the buttermilk. I also use my Healthy Oven Mixing Methodplus a folding action instead of a stirring movement when making healthy quick breads. I find it creates less gluten (more tenderness and moistness) in recipes such as this where there is less fat and sugar, both tenderizers. Also go to my recipe for Moist Cornbread Squares or Muffins.


I developed the Healthy Oven Mixing Method in 1999 (Healthy Oven Baking Book, by Sarah Phillips, Doubleday, 1999). The dry and wet PLUS sugar ingredients are mixed separately and then combined and blended until the dry ingredients just become moist. The wet, typically including fruit purees, such as applesauce) PLUS sugar ingredients are beaten until frothy for better aeration, before being combined with the dry.

1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour; spoon into measuring cup and level to rim
1 cup yellow cornmeal, preferably stone ground
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt

Wet / Sugar:
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 cup buttermilk
1 large egg
grated zest of 1 orange
1 tablespoon canola or vegetable oil

1. Position a shelf in the middle of the oven. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Reduce the oven heat by 25 degrees F if using a dark, nonstick pan or a Pyrex, glass oven proof baking dish.

Line the bottom of a 9- x 5- x 3-inch loaf pan with parchment paper. Lightly spray the paper.

2. Whisk the dry ingredients (flour to salt) in a medium-sized bowl, until well combined. Set aside.

3. In another medium bowl, with a hand-held mixer, combine the wet/sugar ingredients (pumpkin to canola oil), and beat until frothy about 1 minute. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredient and pour in the pumpkin mixture. Using a large rubber spatula, fold together until JUST combined. Do not overmix. The batter will be thick. Using a gentle touch, spread the batter in the prepared pan.

4. Bake right away until the top of the cornbread springs back when pressed gently in the center and the sides are beginning to pull away from the pan, about 55 to 60 minutes. Do not overbake. Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Unmold the cake on a wire cake rack and peel off the waxed paper. Turn on its side to cool completely.

Store in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 days; can be frozen. Because the recipe contains fruit purees (pumpkin), the recipe is best stored under refrigeration to help prevent mold.

Healthy Oven Pumpkin-Orange Cranberry Cornbread: Stir in 1/2 cup dried cranberries (craisins) when the pumpkin mixture is added to the dry ingredients, in Step #3.

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